In order to create order, there was a time when different days of the week had a different food…like Chili Wednesdays or Meatless Mondays, there were also Pizza Fridays.
Pizza also was a food I associated with being easy to make (and fun) because when we went to my Aunt’s there was almost always pizza, in a big baking sheet, on standby, should somehow we prove too famished to be able to wait for the incredible and enormous meal that was waiting for us. It was, after all, as much as an hour from our house to hers.
If you don’t happen to have dough on hand, pizza could take a while to have ready. Yeast takes a certain amount of time to grow and prosper; if you make it a head and freeze it, a frozen lump of dough needs to thaw before you can make a pizza from it, and if you forget to take it out of the freezer in the morning before you go to work, all you’ve got is a frozen lump of dough and not an actual pizza. And a hungry boy.
Don’t ask me how I know this.
Nika Hazelton to the rescue. I started reading Italian cookbooks in the ’70’s so I could learn to spell the names of the foods that I had been eating all my life.
I discovered that Italy had many of dialects, not just of accents, but also words and foods. Nika was one of the first authors I found. She also wrote VOLUMES. This will not be the last visit to Nika.
BAKING POWDER PIZZA
(Pizza Fatto in Casa)
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon baking powder
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup water
Toppings of your choice – you know what you want – don’t nibble it all before you make up the dough.
1. Preheat the oven at 450°.
2. Whisk or sift the flour, salt and baking powder together.
3. Combine the 3 tablespoons olive oil with the water and stir into the dry mixture until well mixed – this should take about a minute.
4. Turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead for another minute, until it is a ball.
5. Place the ball of dough in the middle of a greased baking sheet (or use a silpat) Pat the dough flat into a circle, starting in the center and working out. It should end up between about 1/8 inch thick in the middle and closer to ½ inch at the outer edges.
6. If the dough tears, just push more dough over it to close them up.
7. Brush olive oil at the edges of the circle.
8. Top with toppings
9. Put in the HOT oven for 10 – 15 minutes until the dough is browned and the toppings are melted and bubbly.
Makes 1 11-inch pizza.
Adapted from Nika Hazelton. The Regional Italian Kitchen. M. Evans and Company, Inc. New York: 1978. p. 162.